Procession through Time and Tradition

Welcome to a “procession through time and tradition” presented by Natyahasta School of Dance. This presentation is a collaborative project spearheaded by NatyaHasta School of ethnic Indian cultural space that celebrates the visual and cerebral appeal of world culture.NHSD extends its support to the disabled, homeless, senior citizens or for any kind of social and community cause.NHSD is actively involved in artistic exploration, collaboration with western dancers and propagation of Indian culture and traditions.

Natya Hasta School of Dance is acclaimed for its authentic dance training in BharataNatyam, Kuchipudi, Semi – Classical dances in all Indian regional languages, Folk Dances as well as experimenting and exploring world music and rhythms.

The goal of our presentation today is to share and familiarize our audience with the arts and culture essential to everyday life in Egypt. We hope to showcase beautiful human similarities and diversity as performers from around the world come together to celebrate Egyptian music, dance and culture.

Our first item is a spontaneous, improvised rhythm-based composition using common patterns found throughout Egypt, Northern Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Turkey and surrounding countries. We will then see our dancers encounter these traditional Arab drum patterns and express their own dance technique to show just how closely tied we are as human beings in music and dance.

On the Zaffa and Dabke: Our final item today is a demonstration of a procession typically seen in Egypt at times of “great invidividual change.” The zeffa is, literally “a procession with noise” and historically could be done for many reasons, whether to mark the beginning of a pilgrimage, return from long journeys or even political jail, or as the wedding procession. Today, one might see a modern “Firket zeffa” in cities like Cairo, Alexandria or Luxor, to celebrate a wedding. The modern zeffa will start in a public place and end in a public place. It consists typically of drummers, a dancer at the front  to lead, two rows of young ladies, and the bride and groom with their mothers at the end to be presented. And of course, anyone else who joins along the way!

And what happens once you get to the party? Well, you dance of course! Dabke is a traditional line dance, a unisex dance, that is typically led by someone with a handkerchief or scarf or even beads. This dance is common in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. It is a communal dance done at weddings, anniversaries, parties and can even be done as a part of nonviolent social protest. The movement consists of walking, jumping and stomping. But why talk when you can dance…

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